It has been a while since I have posted on the City of God, but today seems an appropriate day to get back to it after neglecting it for about two weeks.
Today, the Church celebrates the feast day of entities unlike ourselves, angels, namely, St. Michael and all of the Angels. In England, today is commonly known as Michaelmas.
The word “angel” comes from the Greek word ανγελώσ meaning “messenger.” James Kiefer writes: “The Holy Scriptures often speak of created intelligences other than humans who worship God in heaven and act as His messengers and agents on earth. We are not told much about them, and it is not clear how much of what we are told is figurative. Jesus speaks of them as rejoicing over penitent sinners (Lk. 15:10).”
I can remember as a child a framed picture that was over my bed of an angel guiding 2 children, a boy and a girl, as they walked over a wooden slatted bridge that had one slat missing. The angel was there to protect the children as they walked into danger. (See the picture above.)
James Kiefer goes on to write:
By the time of Christ, Jewish popular belief included many specifics about angels, with names for many of them. There were thought to be four archangels, named Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, and Uriel. An alternative tradition has seven archangels (see Tobit 12:15 and 1 Enoch 20). Sometimes each archangel is associated with one of the seven planets of the Ptolemaic system (the moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn). Michael is associated with Saturn and Uriel with the Sun. The other pairings I forget, but I believe that you will find a list in the long narrative poem called "The Golden Legend," by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
St. Michael (“Who is Like God”) is said to be the captain of the heavenly armies. He is mentioned in the Scriptures in Daniel 10:13, 31; 12:1 (where he is said to be the prince of the people of Israel); in Jude 9 (where he is said to have disputed with the devil about the body of Moses); and in Revelation 12:7 (where he is said to have led the heavenly armies against those of the great dragon). He is generally pictured in full armor, carrying a lance, and with his foot on the neck of a dragon. (Pictures of the Martyr George are often similar, but only Michael has wings.)
Gabriel (the name means "God is my champion") is thought of as the special bearer of messages from God to men. He appears in Daniel 8:16; 9:21 as an explainer of some of Daniel's visions. According to the first chapter of Luke, he announced the forthcoming births of John the Baptist and of our Lord to Zachariah and the Virgin Mary respectively.
Raphael (the name means "God heals") is mentioned in the Apocrypha, in the book of Tobit, where, disguised as a man, he accompanies the young man Tobias on a quest, enables him to accomplish it, and gives him a remedy for the blindness of his aged father.
It is thought by many scholars that the seven lamps of Revelation 4:5 are an image suggested by (among many other things) the idea of seven archangels.
What is the value to us of remembering the Holy Angels? Well, since they appear to excel us in both knowledge and power, they remind us that, even among created things, we humans are not the top of the heap. Since it is the common belief that demons are angels who have chosen to disobey God and to be His enemies rather than His willing servants, they remind us that the higher we are the lower we can fall. The greater our natural gifts and talents, the greater the damage if we turn them to bad ends. The more we have been given, the more will be expected of us. And, in the picture of God sending His angels to help and defend us, we are reminded that apparently God, instead of doing good things directly, often prefers to do them through His willing servants, enabling those who have accepted His love to show their love for one another.
Let us pray: Everlasting God, who have ordained and constituted in a wonderful order the ministries of angels and mortals: Mercifully grant that, as your holy angels always serve and worship you in heaven, so by your appointment they may help and defend us here on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Francis’ Day and the Blessing of the Animals. Bring your pets to Church on Sunday at 12 Noon to be blessed.
This Sunday, we will begin our new Adult Christian Education series, Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis.
The 7th Annual Art Show is right around the corner! This year our theme is “HOPE & COMPASSION” Entries are accepted 26 to 29 September from 10 am - 6 pm and judging will be on Wednesday, 30 September. The juror is artist Karen Calhoun. The show is displayed 3 to 11 October from 10 am- 6 pm. We have 2 receptions OPENING NIGHT AWARDS OCT. 3, 6 PM and ARTWALK NIGHT OCT. 10TH UNTIL 9 PM.
Please remember everyone on our Prayer List.
Your servant in Christ,
Fr. Chester J. Makowski+
St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church
Galveston, Texas 77550